What is legal weed?

"What exactly does it mean when we say 'legal weed'? Isn't weed legal everywhere now?"

Michael L.


Cannabis flower can help some people sleep better.

Legal weed in this country refers to cannabis that has been deemed legal to use for medical or recreational purposes. It’s legal in some states but not federally in the United States. And some states allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and others have also opened the gates to recreational or adult use.

With the growing use of weed for both medical and recreational purposes, there seems to be strong momentum for legalization in this country, though perhaps not fast enough for marijuana advocates pushing for its acceptance.

Medical use of weed is legal with a doctor's or approved medical practioner’s OK in 36 states, four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Recreational use of cannabis is legal in 19 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam.

The states include:

  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Michigan
  • Vermont
  • Illinois
  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • South Dakota
  • New York
  • Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Connecticut

Weed retail sales are offered through government-approved dispensaries in the states where cannabis is legalized for purchase.

To purchase medical cannabis each state has its own rules for obtaining a medical marijuana card. In New York, for example, you have the option get your card through HelloMD and our telehealth services. It costs only $129 to have an online consultation with a New York practitioner, who will answer any questions you may have and help you determine if your health condition could be helped by medical marijuana (chosen from an state-approved list of conditions).

The state of New York then charges $50 to issue the medical marijuana card.

Dan D.


The dose pen by Dosist.

Illinois is one of the states where you can buy both recreational and medical marijuana. You can still break the law for possession or not following the rules, but on the other hand, you can buy legal, quality-controlled, safe cannabis from authorized dispensaries.

After permitting medical marijuana sales for more than five years, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis in June 2019. Under the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, recreational cannabis sales to adults aged 21 and older officially began in the beginning of 2020.

If you're 21 or older and a legal resident of Illinois, you can buy recreational weed from any of the licensed adult-use dispensaries. You can purchase up to 30 grams of dry flower, five grams of concentrate, and edibles with up to 500 mg of THC.

To be able to buy legal medical cannabis, you need a licensed medical professional to certify you have a debilitating condition. You can book your appointment with a licensed pro in person or through an online platform, such as HelloMD.

It’s fast, easy, private and 100% online to get your Illinois medical cannabis card through us, book a consultation with a medical professional, and then receive your authorization to purchase medical marijuana through a state-licensed dispensary.

Carla S.


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I should also point out that legal weed will help with the Catch-22 that has plagued its use for medical reasons or recreational purposes. The medical and legal establishment resisted its legalization because there wasn’t enough proof of its benefits and that cannabis was safe to use. But it was hard to get that research proof because cannabis was an illegal drug, making it hard to access for studies.

But growing legalization in this country will help spur the kind of research needed to prove (or disprove) its efficacy, beyond the usual anecdotal testimonials.

The research would not only cover the well-known cannabinoids THC and CBD but dozens of other active ingredients, each one having potential uses that could reveal new ways that cannabis can benefit us.

Laurie Tawada